Friends, I (Morgan) am so honored to share this with you. Why? Because not only is this glorious, exciting novel one worth your time, but also because I happen to know the author. How do I know her? She edits MY novels. And let me tell you, I feel like I won the lottery meeting this girl. She is one of the most insightful, kind, bright souls I believe I’ve ever met. And now, she’s a published author!

It’s not easy, taking the risk to put your work into the world. It’s a long journey, fraught with obstacles (self-imposed and otherwise). She’s walked this road with me for novel after novel. Now I have the privilege of walking it with her.

So without further ado, may I introduce to you Ms. Arielle M. Bailey, debut author of the Star-Wars-meets-Greek Mythology novel, The Icarus Aftermath!

Let’s dive in to the nuts and bolts of the book, shall we?

Your book’s aesthetic in three words.

Stars, fire, laughter.

What was the very first spark for this story?

It hit me in the shower after a very long, very hard day. I’d always thought (and still think) the original Icarus was a twit. The myth is, after all, a lesson in hubris. But that night, standing under the hot water trying to marshal my complicated emotions, one thought flashed through my head: what if he flew too close to the sun to save someone else? And then I wrote it down, a scribbled snippet that is now the second scene in the book.

Why did you write this? What drove you to put pen to paper?

I believe it was Ray Bradbury who once said “…may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

So many of my favorite things came out in this book/series. Space opera, rebellions, smart generals, capable men and women working side by side in easy camaraderie, Greek mythology—especially Ares and Hephaestus and the Amazons, Carrie Fisher, alien races, the aesthetic I have always loved in Star Wars, and SPACE. As well as things I’m passionate against: human (or alien) trafficking, disloyalty, emotional manipulation, betrayal.

But most of all, it’s about relationships. Parents and kids, siblings, friends, lovers, enemies, and relationships that are just hard to define.

Relationships are my favorite thing to write. I especially enjoy writing relationships between intense, fiery people. And most of all, I love writing relationships where I get to explore the depths of people—their good sides and their bad sides and why they still choose to love each other and stick with each other. Because loving someone else deeply and faithfully—whether platonic or romantic—is a choice.

Basically, love drove this series.

I’ve fallen in love with a lot of things over the course of my life. And out of that, I’ve tried to remake a world.

What music did you listen to while writing it? Are there any songs that go to particular chapters or characters?

The Spotify playlist for this book is here.
(https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7yRHhG7hF5SicTa9rS8QXV)

The two main theme songs for this book were:

“Where the Shadow Ends” by BANNERS
and
“Outlaws” by Delta Rae
“All the King’s Men” by The Rigs was the song I listened to on repeat while writing one particular chapter at the end of the book.

Most of the main characters have multiple theme songs, but these are the primary ones:
Koralia – “Meet Me On the Battlefield” by SVRCINA
Mikon – “The Underdog” by The Script
Talos – “Danger Zone” from Top Gun (specifically the cover by Baltic House Orchestra)
Icarus – “I Lived” by One Republic

I’ll have a blog post next week about more of the music of this series.

Yes, please. *grins* Do you have a favorite character, and if so, why?

Yes and no. I adore them all so much that it’s really hard to choose. But if I had to pick, Icarus—my golden wildfire boy. Because it’s so rare that I find truly confident men in fiction who aren’t unbearably arrogant at the same time. It’s also rare to see really good leaders (male or female) who struggle with demons but choose to fight them and then go on to lead others to do the same, all the while being confident in themselves and their purpose. Sounds a bit like a fantasy sure, but rare as they are, men and women like that do actually exist. Just not really in fiction.

And Icarus grew out of the wish to see more characters like that in fiction.

General Athanasia is a very close second favorite.

Which character do you identify with the most?

Talos. General Athanasia is who I’d love to be some year, but I’m definitely most like Talos.

What was your favorite part to write and why?

Almost any scene with multiple Sunfires, particularly with both Mikon and Talos. There were two scenes at the end that were also huge favorites to write, but I can’t talk about them because SPOILERS.

Yes, thank you for sparing us the spoilers. *laughs* Did you have a LEAST favorite part to write, and if so, what was it?

Nope. Some of the ‘transition’ scenes from one event to the next were rough at first, but they cleaned up pretty well. I try to keep scenes interesting, and if one was boring me to write, I scrapped it and started over until I liked it.

What scene/s did you love writing that DIDN’T make it into the final draft?

I originally thought two major characters were going to fight for most of the book instead of a quarter of the book, so I had pieces of several arguments between them that didn’t make it into the final version. Some will be repurposed later in the series, and others just won’t work anywhere. Still, those were fun to scribble.

There was also a scene between General Athanasia and Koralia where the two of them mourned Icarus in private with an Amazon death ritual. It just didn’t fit in the book because it was too much and the emotions in it were already in other scenes. But I really enjoyed rough drafting it, and you might get to see that one as an extra at some point.

Are there any hidden easter eggs in your book that we should look out for?

Several, but am I going to remember them right now? Ha. I knew I should have written them down earlier.
Let’s see…
– At one point, someone, I think Mikon or Xuthos, says they have a bad feeling about something.
– General Athanasia is a pretty obvious tribute to Carrie Fisher and my favorite character she ever played: General Leia Organa. (I know a lot of girls who love Princess Leia, but Leia the general was always my favorite.)
– There are a few Amazon nods to Wonder Woman, especially in a scene near the end.
– And there are a couple of references to Pacific Rim.
– As well as a bunch of mythology easter eggs—most of which will be explained in blog posts. Eventually.

How did writing this book help you grow as an author?

I’d gone through a really tough spell as a writer right before this. I’d figured out the last big piec of what was keeping readers from really connecting emotionally to my books, but I wasn’t sure HOW to incorporate the changes I knew my writing needed. I stressed over it for a while, as my writing buddies can bear witness.

Then I sat down to write this and let go and just wrote. I also forced myself to think about what my emotions were when I sat down to write and see how much of that I could channel into the current scene on the page. I was surprised and even shocked when alpha readers started screaming in caps lock because they /felt/ the scenes in ways I’d never accomplished before. Gratified and thrilled too, but definitely stunned.

The whole process really leveled me up as a writer. And I knew—when I’d finished this book and looked back on it—I knew I was finally ready to publish, after seven years of working toward it.

What’s next for you as a writer? In publishing?

Writing the second book in this series (you can find out more about the series on my blog later in the tour). Also tackling any of about four separate (lighter) series clamoring for my attention. One is Urban Fantasy fairy tales, another is contemporary fantasy, a third is…well, an oddball buddy fantasy very much developing, and the fourth is a Regency series.

In publishing, I’ll be revising Queen Beauty and the Beasts, the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo almost four years ago. I’ll be splitting the story (massive at 172,000 words) into a trilogy or tetralogy, and the first and second books will hopefully be ready for publishing next year. It’s contemporary fantasy that I describe as: Beauty and the Beast meets Phantom of the Opera in the world of Korean pop music.

Thanks so much for having me today!

It’s an honor to have you, Arielle. We’re looking forward to more from you!

Find more from Arielle below:

Social links:

Author bio:

Arielle Bailey taught herself to read at age four, and words have been her primary passion ever since. In her day job, she edits other people’s books and writes blog posts analyzing TV shows and movies. The rest of the time, she brainstorms, plots, and writes her own books. At night, you can usually find her outside, staring at the moon and stars. Her favorite genres to read and write include contemporary fantasy, court intrigue, and space fantasy—because what is better than fantasy among the stars?

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